While the debate over defunding Planned Parenthood rages on, Hillary Clinton is now talking about extending funding for abortion beyond the United States.
The 1973 Helms Amendment, which states that “No foreign assistance funds may be used to pay for the performance of abortion as a method of family planning,” is the one constitutional inconvenience standing in Clinton’s way. At a recent town hall in Iowa, Clinton was asked whether, given the fact ISIS is using rape as a weapon of war, she holds a “position on Helms as it relates to public funding for abortion.”
“I do think we have to take a look at this for conflict zones,” Clinton responded, “and if the United States government, because of very strong feelings against it, maintains our prohibition, then we are going to have to work through non-profit groups and work with other counties to … provide the support and medical care that a lot of these women need.”
Clinton’s comments follow a recent push by House Democrats to get the Obama administration to re-interpret the Helms Amendment to clarify that the amendment “permits exceptions in the events of rape, incest or danger to a woman’s life.” As we’ve seen with laws for abortion to preserve a woman’s “psychological health,” such interpretations effectively remove any and all restrictions.
Anna Pfaff works for the American Principles Project.